Is Epilepsy a disease or disability or a disorder? What are the differences between these terms?
Disease – can be cured if taken right medications and precaution.
Disability – Cannot be cured, neither can be cured nor get worst. You simply accept it as part of life and start adjusting to it.
Disorder – Disorder is a kind of disability that you have to agree and accept that it is will not be cured, but if not taken care of, it can get worst. It needs proper management.
With my learning (non-medical & non-professional) and some practical experience dealing with the epileptic person, I understand that it is a disorder.
Read what one epileptic person had to say,
“As of lately, I have heard a few people describe Epilepsy as a disease. I have had Epilepsy for 20 years now, and I think that it is a chronic medical condition. Maybe it is just me. The word “disease” is one of the few words, other than “crippled,” that makes my skin crawl. You know? When I think of the word “disease,” the image or thought that pops into my mind is something that is infectious or that can be passed on from one person to another. If anything, I feel that people are uncomfortable around individuals who have Epilepsy. They seem to think that they should stay away from us or be anxious. Well, either way, it goes, people with Epilepsy have made a place for themselves in this world despite all of the myths and stigmas that were attached to Epilepsy. We are just as capable of doing anything we want to do. Everyone feel free to follow this acronym to spread awareness about Epilepsy: ELIAES (Express, Love, Involve, Advocate, Educate, and Support).”
What do you all think? Is Epilepsy a disease or a medical condition?
While epilepsy existed throughout the history of human life, the term started getting more attention after some philosophers started mentioning it in their work. Listen to the following Interview of NPR regarding the origin of the word.
Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Epilepsy’: NPR
For centuries there were so much of misconceptions and ignorance on the part of the people affected as well as the people around them that did not allow improvements in the medical science on finding a solution to this disorder. The worst enemy of “Epilepsy” is not epilepsy itself. It is the belief that it is a disease or a curse( as in olden days, and even today in many parts of the world) that made it impossible for developing solutions. Thanks to the last century advancements in medical industry there are many medications that helps to manage the disorder. Most of the people affected by the denial of the fact it is a disorder and always believe that it can be cured.
The related diseases & disorders:
My research shows that epilepsy is often associated with or occur with other medical conditions(or diseases) like Behçet’s Disease, Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, etc. Look into the following table:
So, it although it is not a disease by itself, if epilepsy is caused by some diseases, then there is a hope to cure it completely by curing those diseases that cause them. Although as some information suggest that there is no cure for some of them like Crohn’s disease(i could be wrong) but can be managed. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
Crohn’s disease can occur in the small intestine and the colon and can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract. It can be caused by your immune system, your genetics or your environment. The initial symptoms can be simple bowel movement feelings; the advanced symptoms can be pain / drainage near your anus, ulcers(especially near the anus), inflammation of the joints and skin. What may be mild or irritating for some can be painful and debilitating for the others? The symptoms vary and can change over time. In some people, the disease can lead to life-threatening complications.
Psychology & Psychiatry:
Epilepsy is about neurology. So, it is going to impact the person both psychiatrically as well as psychologically. So, epileptic individuals should always have regular psychologically (and or psychiatric) therapies at least immediately after an episode. Episodes occur only once in a while(as long as you continue taking medications ( it is dormant does not occur under most of the normal conditions), but the aftermath is the most difficult part. A person shall only overcome by a lot of commitment and determination.
Yoga & LifeStyle:
Yoga and LifeStyle are the two major tools one should adopt to manage epilepsy along with the regular medication. Yoga does energize your chakra centers and puts you into the energy balance and reduce the impulse in the parts of the brain that usually causes the seizures. And yoga can also make a lot of different to your lifestyle, outlook, and attitude to life in general. It provides you with the level of confidence and balance in life that makes you come out of the aftermath effect(but be advised not to do any yoga for two days after an episode). The other lifestyle and food habits naturally provide a lot of immunity for the body and mind for epilepsy and aftermath. There are a lot of guidelines and advice available in the internet on this, but make sure you always validate through a certified health / dietary adviser or a medical doctor. As far as yoga goes, learn it from the professionals who had learned from gurus and had been practicing yoga and meditation for many years themselves.
Colin Grant, whose brother died of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), is interviewed by New Statesman journalist Erica Wagner. Colin then interviews Erica who was diagnosed with epilepsy during adolescence.
While individual’s situation many vary, but Epilepsy should be realistically understood and taken very seriously as a disorder that needs a lot of care and management throughout their life. One should not believe that it has magically disappeared from their life or will go. Nothing wrong in having a disorder, but the key is managing the disorder and living a great life in spite of it.
- Epidemiology of the IBD. (2015, March 31). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ibd/ibd-epidemiology.htm
- Facts about inflammatory bowel diseases. (2011, May 1). Retrieved from http://www.ccfa.org/resources/facts-about-inflammatory.html
- How do you diagnose Crohn’s disease? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bidmc.org/Centers-and-Departments/Departments/Digestive-Disease-Center/Inflammatory-Bowel-Disease-Program/Crohns-Disease/How-do-you-diagnose-Crohns-disease.aspx
- Lo Re, G. & Midiri, M. (2016). Crohn’s disease: Radiological features and clinical-surgical correlations. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-23066-5_1
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Crohn’s disease: Alternative medicine. (2014, August 13). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-